Nine Siemens Semifinalists and Two Finalists

Ties for most semifinalist projects and finalists of any L.I. school

Congratulations to the nine Syosset High School seniors named regional semifinalists in the Siemens Foundation Competition for Math, Science and Technology, the nation’s premier science research contest for high school students.

A day after learning that Syosset High School had achieved a school record with the most semifinalists in its history and second-most semifinalists of any Long Island school this year (tied for most projects selected at seven), it was announced that two of these students will advance as finalists in the competition.        

Finalists Eric Pun and Nikhil Saggi collaborated on a project that infused the chemical sodium silicate into concrete for durability, while introducing different conditions to determine their impact. They used varying temperatures, water absorption and extreme pressure to conclude that cold weather and water had a mitigating effect on the chemical’s ability to strengthen concrete.
“It’s great to be recognized for all of the challenging work we did,” said Nikhil, who along with Eric returned to Syosset High School in late August to continue their research for the project. “We spent a lot of time on this project.”
“We stayed up countless hours, crunching data, so I’m glad it all worked out,” said Eric.
“Eric and Nikhil took an idea they had at the start of junior year and worked together to create an outstanding project,” said Science Research Facilitator Veronica Ade, who oversees the Siemens projects for the school. “Although, initially, they were unhappy with their results, they determined new variables to study, spent countless hours preparing and created new concrete samples for testing. They are a testament to never giving up and persevering through obstacles.”     
Mohamed El-Abtah, Crystal Li, Rushabh Metha, Dahyun Park, Yash Samantaray, Jordan Sanford and Jonah Wu round out the school’s semifinalists.
Mohamed researched high-risk genes associated with liver cancer; Crystal tested a chemical used in pesticides and linked it to Alzheimer’s Disease; Rushabh analyzed the motions of mouns (electrically charged particles) in an accelerator to understand how one of the basic building blocks of the universe is affected by force fields; Dahyun and Jordan worked as a team exploring the use of microfuel fibers for wastewater treatment; Yash infused gold-platinum to hydrogen fuel cells to enhance their effectiveness, durability and practicality as a clean energy source; and Jonah tested the use of imprinted genes in improving various brain mechanisms and functions. Yash and Crystal collaborated with students from other school districts for their research.                                    

“I am very proud and excited for our school record of nine Siemens semifinalists,” said Ade. “These students have worked diligently in our research program, spending countless hours on their projects in order to put their best product out there.”
While contributing mightily to the Island’s total representation of 69 semifinalists in the competition, Syosset was one of three high schools with two finalists. Long Island has 10 finalists overall. Eric and Nikhil will present their research to judges from Carnegie Mellon University on Nov. 19 via videoconference, with winners to be announced Nov. 21. Winners are eligible for scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $100,000.                                 
“It’s extremely gratifying to share in the excitement and acknowledgment of so many original ideas and practical applications by our students,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Thomas Rogers. “Whether it’s a study to improve infrastructure, the environment, our universe, or the way our bodies function and fight terminal illness, these young scientists and many others here in Syosset are making meaningful contributions to the body of scientific research and coming to conclusions that can improve our world and the way we live.”                     

Deputy Superintendent Adele Bovard, Syosset High School Principal Dr. Giovanni Durante, Science Coordinator Raymond Loverso and Research Facilitator Veronica Ade are pictured congratulating the students.